By Nibal Zgheib
The EBRD is joining forces with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan and the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) to promote sustainable tourism and to boost the country’s cultural heritage.
EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, Heike Harmgart Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan, Majd Shweikeh and Chief Commissioner of PDTRA, Suleiman Farajat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Amman February 26, expressing an intention to work together on an integrated development plan for the Petra and South Shuna regions by boosting their cultural heritage resources.
The MoU also includes a plan to collaborate in the development of a Christian pilgrimage trail that will connect religious sites across Jordan.
The three partner organisations intend to work together to define and implement an action plan that will position the abovementioned regions as high-quality tourism destinations within the next five years. The key areas of focus will include strengthening the tourism sector, developing skills in the labour force, making the sites more accessible, marketing and promoting them, encouraging private sector participation and stakeholders’ engagement.
In addition, the Bank will seek investments to develop infrastructure and to promote the management and sustainable operation of cultural heritage sites by training staff and developing their skills to a high level.
The EBRD began its operations in Jordan in 2012 and is supporting sustainable energy projects as well as direct and indirect financing of private enterprises, promoting infrastructure reform and facilitating non-sovereign financing. Since 2012, the Bank has invested almost €1.5 billion(US$1.63billion) across 50 projects in Jordan, with €140 million of that total in property and tourism, and 73 per cent in the private sector.